Mira Costa High School

Review: Tyler, The Creator’s ‘Cherry Bomb’ veers from previous work

Dr. TC is out of a job and Camp Flog Gnaw is out of session. The guttural, primal bellow detailing life’s lack of meaning has been exchanged for an awkward, yearning warble. The deathly shock value is out of stock and the flowers are in store, blooming below Tyler, who flies above them.

Call it an awakening of a catatonic state, not a slumber. He’s always been cognizant, just rarely active. Remember his declarative identity of Satan’s son over the chilling piano keys of ‘Bastard’? Tyler’s deep scoff of an intro on Goblin even one-upped that: “The devil doesn’t wear prada, I’m clearly in a f***ing white tee.”

Wolf followed as the most mature and complete work of the most mature for and complete Tyler anyone has seen. Tyler Gregory Okonma screamed his way into the light.

He’s considered the effects of his lyrics, but never cared about them. Personally and musically, his maturation process has been incredulous; his self exploration has evened his life and his tracks. He’ll never lose his unwavering edge, but the method of delivery will change and has changed.

“Cherry Bomb” is tamely chaotic; it’s the fly buzzing by your ear, not harming anyone, but so irresistibly noticeable. Just when you’ve soothed into a tinkling blend of the lightest neo-jazz, the thumping of drums bangs its way in, serving as Tyler’s proverbial cackle.

At times it’s painstakingly maddening to grasp Tyler’s message and meaning, and that’s exactly what he wants. The lack of rhyme or reason is evident through the cherry bombs exploding in his head, one after another, each with a different effect. They’re playful and detonate with enough force to make a difference, and he’s planted them like mines throughout his thirteen tracks.

Inspired by a Pusha T sample of Bunny Sigler, ‘BUFFALO’ gets down to business. A reference to a highly controversial Mountain Dew commercial, another homophobic slur, and a quick, nudging response to rapper Hopsin’s past criticism of Tyler all comprise the second track over a steady beat, interrupted by Dash Radio’s Shane Powers vulgar, threatening warnings to not drop this opportunity.

A consistent “theme”, if one can even be properly assigned, is the recognition and pursuit of potential. During his nights on his grandmother’s couch and through his lyrics of unbridled anger displaying his past instability, Tyler plummeted from a nest of a single maternal bird and barely survived.

The impending death was internally visualized on “Goblin’s” “‘Yonkers.” But no, his wings spread across a tall, gangly body. He saved himself and is renewed, with his status in life updated. The soaring atmosphere is representative of Tyler’s soaring emotion.

High on happiness, he’s stated the negative music is over, and that he should be seen as inspiration. “FIND YOUR WINGS’ is nothing short of beautiful, and a demonstration of his musical genius.

It’s another ‘Treehome95’, but this song is “finished.” Columbian artist Kali Uchis dances over this track gracefully until she accidentally lands upon a ‘CHERRY BOMB’.

Seasoned with Death Grips echo and ‘Yeezus’ aggressive synth, the fly by your ear is buzzing incessantly. Yet, you haven’t made any great attempt to kill the fly; it’s just… there.

Believe it or not, the psychopathic Jeffrey Dahmer-esque tendencies prevalent in ‘She’ have morphed into heavily sexual, but angsty tender love. An explicit fantasy about model Cara Delevingne and the continued sexual symbolization of a car are pressed into an uncomfortably blunt ‘BLOW MY LOAD.’

An underage relationship is the source of frustrated stress on ‘F***ING YOUNG/PERFECT.’ Tyler can’t have a normal relationship with a girl and he never has. Emotional uncertainty is the case of this trial, and Tyler’s guilty of unhealthy obsession at the hands of inexperience.

Despite his past works littered with rape remarks, sexist comments, and misogynistic desires, Tyler is openly relaying his new-found emotion to the ears of listeners, expecting acceptance and sympathy. His bold intent never disappoints, and ‘OKAGA, CA’ longs for an escape to the moon with his girl.

A young adult now, Okonma is subject to maturation, whether he wants it or not, and this has an undeniable effect upon his now-stunning production.

To the excitement of the hip-hop community, Kanye West and Lil Wayne feature Tyler’s ‘SMUCKERS’ with equally solid verses. The usually racial, political, and worshipful West delivers well on an artist who packs a similar punch, but swings from the opposite side.

Wayne’s verse is cavalier in nature, with the wordplay that’s defined his artistry, “I’m starin’ at a tramp on lean, make my eye jump.” Yet, although two hip-hop greats grace the song, Tyler firmly stamps his message over Ye’s and Wayne’s seal, ending the track with a: “Nah f***** it’s Golf Wang.”

Compulsive at heart, Tyler the Creator has left his fans with another sharp turn on a road that seemed to be going straight. Unpredictable, brash, and joyless and joyful at the same time, Tyler’s lyrical content is often undecipherable, sprawled across the page. What makes this album worthy is the eye-popping development of Okonma’s knowledge of production and sample selection.

“Cherry Bomb” doesn’t explode without the seemingly random, but specifically placed instrumentals. His vast array of musical choice can be thrown upon a track and define an album, but also muddle it. The fiercely dark undertones of “Bastard” and “Goblin” erupted with great force, making jaws drop at the horrific subject matter and slap of a delivery.

These albums were atomic bombs in their sadistic effect, created by the lonesome kid with big ears sitting alone at recess. Now he’s playing, running aimlessly with arms outstretched, tossing cherry bombs all around with an uncontrollable smile on his stubbled face.


Cherry Bomb: 7.9